Thursday, October 25, 2007

Learning Something New

Well, the tomatoes are done (for now). I know, I know, I was going to have Chapter Two of making tomato sauce. Chapter Two got done, but Sue here forgot to take pictures. Don't worry, I'll be making more next week when the next batch of green tomatoes are RED. I'll post Chapter Two of the tutorial.

In the meantime, I made great process on my sock while processing the tomato sauce, which in case you hadn't noticed, is a NEW PROJECT. I need more socks. It's going to be cold and my feet want nice warmth, and comfort, which is what knit socks provide. This pair of socks, however, are going to have a different heel. I'm learning how to do a "strong heel sock."
This is one of my socks I knit last year. It has the standard heel flap.
The heel flap is on the left of the sock.

On this sock, I'll be adding two extra stitches on the backside of the sock with every other round until I have double the number (in my case 70 stitches since I cast on 72). I'll have more pictures in the next few days. Hopefully I'll remember to take my camera to Sequim with me.

You've got to see this...

See A.J. on the right? He is staring at Abby in the chair. This picture was taken about 7:15.

Here's A.J. at 8:30, still staring at the cat. He hasn't moved! This poor dog is obsessed with Abby. I love the look on her face ("enough already").


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Crock Pot + Tomatoes = Knitting

Knitters never have enough time. Most of us have enough yarn, in fact most of us belong to SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy). We have enough knitting needles to have at least six projects going at the same time. We have books, and patterns. We have notions, gadgets, and the Internet. Time, however, is at a premium for most of us.

Now that it is dark when I leave in the morning for work, and dark when I come home I have lost precious knitting time. Isn't that why we commute? To have the time to knit?

We grab time wherever we can find it. Me, I grab it when doing other stuff around the house.

Take these tomatoes ...

These are so ripe, in fact, past slicing stage. They are ready for tomato sauce.

Here is the plan. Have dinner cooking in the crock pot, leave work right at 4:00 (instead of working overtime), and get home to do tomato sauce.

What does this have to do with knitting? You'll see. Just follow this tutorial on preserving tomato sauce when you have an over abundance of tomatoes.

Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems, and quarter them. Put into a big pan, like a big stock pot.
No need to peel the tomatoes. You'll see.

After the tomatoes have been washed and quartered, you start adding some other vegetables you have in the fridge.
Like onions, celery, and of course, garlic. This gets washed and cut into chunks.

Put the other veggies into the pot. Turn the stove on low to let things cook REAL SLOW. Admire the pot of beautiful veggies, knowing that everything except the celery was grown organically in your own garden.

Go outside and check the weather. Note that it is 68 degrees on October 22nd, five days after a horrible wind storm and torrential rains.

Look and admire the beautiful fall colors of the trees and shrubs in your yard, and note how the sun makes things glow.

Go back into the kitchen to check the pot, and then pour yourself a glass of wine, and grab your knitting (see where I'm going with this?).

Sit, sip, and knit, while admiring the lovely evening, knowing that your tomatoes are cooking nicely and quietly on the stove.

Check the pot occasionally, stir it up a bit, and then go back outside to sit, sip and knit.
While in the kitchen, check out dinner cooking in the crock pot. It's all done. Nothing like pot roast. All you will have to do is put it on the service plates.

Go back outside, and sit, sip and knit.

Note the pot of tomatoes is simmering nicely. Everything is cooking together as it should.
Go outside, sit, sip and knit and have a coherent conversation with the wonderful man you married, who isn't asking why you are taking all of these pictures.

Continuing sitting, sipping and knitting, while taking brief trips to the kitchen to check the tomatoes cooking nicely on the stove.

Serve the dinner that is already cooked.

After dinner, bring out the Squeezo Strainer.

Take the now cooked tomatoes and run them through the Squeezo.

Be amazed (again) how wonderful the Squeezo is that your Mom bought you 27 years ago so you would make your babies applesauce (which I refused to do with the Foley food mill -- urg!)

The juice and pulp come through the Squeezo and all of the seeds, celery strings, and skins of the tomatoes and onions end up as waste in the little plastic cup.
Stand back and admire the lovely tomato sauce you have made in a matter of a couple of hours. Off to the fridge for an overnight stay for the sauce.

It will be put back on the stove again to simmer down to thicken and then preserved in the pressure cooker.

That's for another blog.
And I got some wonderful, precious knitting time. Something all of us knitters need more of.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Knitting, Tomatoes and Wedding Shoes

Things are better.

I'm back to knitting, albeit, I'm finishing up projects because I don't seem to be able to focus on starting on a new project. However, finishing up projects is a good thing, and having the frame of mind to concentrate on finishing up is a rarity for a knitter.

I finished up two baby sweaters for Aimee to give as baby gifts. They came out so cute.

I finished my first Baby Surprise Jacket and I love the way it came out. It was too fun. It went from this ...

to this.

Still needs to be washed and blocked, and buttons sewn on. I'm also thinking of adding a collar. I have a very special little girl in mind for this sweater.

I finished a shawl I started in February as a gift. I just have to order the knitting wires and get it blocked before sending it off in the mail. No picture yet, I don't want to spoil the surprise. All I can say at this time is the gift is to say thanks.

Next socks as another gift for Christmas. The first one is almost done.


Remember how I was bemoaning the fact that all of my tomatoes on the vines were green? Look at this ...

Last month I picked most of the green tomatoes and have been letting them ripen in brown paper bags at home.

I now have ripe tomatoes. I've been giving them away, we've been eating them in every meal, and now I'm making tomato sauce by the gallons. So far I have put up 25 pints and still have about 75 lbs of ripening tomatoes to do. LOVE IT!

And ... I got the wedding shoes done for Kari. She and Mike are getting married today and I did Kari's shoes. I've known Kari for close to 20 years. I've watched her grow up and now she's getting married. Each stitch that I put into these shoes contains a prayer for Kari and Mike, for their new journey together as a married couple.

I just have to remember to take my camera to take a picture of Kari's mom in a dress!


Monday, October 8, 2007

I Need to Get Back to Knitting

I need to get back into knitting. I've been doing a little knitting, mostly something to keep my hands busy, but I find I am doing more pacing lately than knitting. I know my heart hurts and my mind is tired, but I need to get back into knitting.

I thought maybe a new project would be fun. I looked at my patterns and my yarn and nothing appeals to me.

I thought starting a new Baby Surprise Jacket would be nice. I've started it but it's not grabbing me.

I thought working on my shawl would be soothing. Nope, not that either.

Maybe a new pair of socks?

I've got a lot of projects I could finish, but that certainly is not appealing to me right now.

I know it's my frame of mind right now, but knitting has always been a comfort to me.

Maybe it's too soon for me to feel comfort.

The dogs would love to have me sit on the couch and knit. For them it's snuggle time, and that's what we do this time of year.

They need comforting too.

Maybe a pair of socks to warm my feet.


Friday, October 5, 2007


These past two weeks have been hard. Through it all, however, my girlfriends have been right there for me.

Women are lucky because they have girlfriends; friends who are sisters.

When I got the call to head to Portland because Mom had slipped into a coma, the first person I called was a girlfriend, Cynthia. What was Cynthia's first comment? "What can I do?"

When I got in touch with Katie to tell her we wouldn't be in town for "date night" she asked "what do you need me to do?"

When I emailed Susan at work she asked "how can I help?"

When I called Debbie to tell her Mom had died she said "when can I see you?"

When Cindy called after Mom died she said "what can I do to help you?"

When I called Leslie in Sequim she said "tell me what I can do to help."

They all kept in touch with me while I was in Portland by calling, emailing and taking us out to dinner.

Debbie and Bob took David and me and the boys out for a lovely dinner, and came to Mom's funeral.

Cynthia and Susan drove down from Seattle for Mom's funeral to be with me.

Katie, Cindy and Susan called me this week on Date Night to make me laugh.

Last night Leslie came over and let me talk.

Tomorrow night Susan and Cynthia are coming over to celebrate Susan's birthday and to catch up.

They all knew Mom and I didn't have the "perfect" relationship, but knew that we had the typical mother/daughter relationship, which is still very strong. They all knew a part of me was screaming in pain, and another part of me was relieved that Mom was now in peace and no longer suffering.

Hey Girlfriends, thanks for being there for me. There isn't an adequate way for me to say thanks. That's okay, because I know all of you know how I feel. I am very blessed to have you all as my friends.

You are the best!